Linebacker Chris Martin, a former five-star recruit who transferred to the Florida Gators after a short stint with California last year, was dismissed from the football team according to a status update he posted on Facebook on Friday. Except he was not dismissed from the team. Instead, Martin played what he called an “early April Fools” joke on “Facebook stalkers” and fans of Notre Dame and Florida State. What he may not have realized is that his comments also threw Florida fans for a loop.
Shortly after creating the status, Martin’s “joke” was spread across Twitter by hungry Gators writers (OGGOA included) trying to provide fans with the latest news.
The reaction was quick and divided.
On one hand, it was quite funny. In this day and age of social media becoming the predominant news medium, a single Facebook post from a football player on one of the top programs in the nation became major news in a matter of minutes. Martin may not have though out his joke well, but a person inside the program laughed when OGGOA immediately inquired about the “development.”
“He’s just trying to be funny,” the person said. “That’s Chris. Always playing.”
In a later status update, Martin pointed out what he feels is the absurdity of paid recruiting websites. “I swear, grown men pay money so they can see where we go to school and stalk us on Facebook,” he wrote.
OGGOA’s Twitter followers both praised (“Awesome. He got everyone worked up. That’s comedy.”) and panned (“It’s sad…and really dumb.”) what Martin did.
One could make an argument that he caused a lot of loyal Gators fans plenty of angst over those 15 or so minutes in which his post was lingering and not clarified.
When it all comes down to it, Martin attempted to mess with the media by making them think there was drop-everything-and-call-your-sources-immediately breaking news. Heck, that’s what OGGOA did. In reality, he created a story that, while neither “breaking” nor “important,” is most certainly newsworthy in its own right.